Terrorism and extremism weekly summary 14 - 20 August

Europe

On Saturday 19 August in the Spandau borough of Berlin, a far-right march to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the death of Rudolf Hess took place, with over five hundred neo-Nazis participating. Groups of left-wing activists and locals who wanted to stop the march were also present. About 1,000 policemen monitored the event. The police detained 39 people during the event, some of them being counter-protesters, 12 people were charged with displaying forbidden symbols. 

On the same day, two arson attacks happened on railway roads from Berlin to Hannover, which caused damage to the signaling and security systems of the railroad, and the traffic on these roads was stopped for several hours. The main suspects are extremists, the police did not rule out a connection to the neo-Nazi march in Spandau.

Two people were killed and six injured during an attack in Turku, Finland, on Friday 18 August. A 19-year-old Morrocan, Abderrahman Mechkah, attacked bystanders with a knife at a local market in the city center. The police then stepped in and shot, and subsequently arrested, the attacker. A terrorist motive has not yet been officially established, although some sources show it as being very likely. Stricter security measures were implemented in the country after the attack and police forces are on high alert. Four other men of Morrocan nationality were arrested in connection to the attack.

In reaction to the terrorist attack in Barcelona, which killed 15 people and injured more than a hundred, racially motivated attacks and vandalism against local mosques have appeared. Mosques were sprayed with hateful slogans threatening revenge on Muslims and some objects were damaged, the perpetrators did not hesitate to use smoke bombs or flares. The perpetrators of these attacks connect the mosques' financing to terrorism and blame the entire Muslim community in the country for the attack. The police have not arrested any of the vandals yet, their identities are not known so far.

The search for the Barcelona attacker has expanded to other countries, Spanish police informed about a possibility of the attacker already having crossed the border into France, French security forces have therefore been asked for cooperation. The identity of the van driver responsible for the deaths of 15 people has also been publicly revealed, according to the police he is a 22-year-old Morrocan named Younes Abouyaaqoub. On Monday 21 August, Abouyaaqoub was shot by Spanish police in the town of Subirats.

Russia and Post-Soviet space

In the Russian town of Surgut in Siberia, a 23-year-old attacker stabbed eight people on Saturday 19 August. The man was subsequently shot by local police. The man had a Russian citizenship and allegedly also had an accomplice, who was later arrested by the police. Even though the police said a terrorist motive was unlikely, shortly after the attack the responsibility for the incident has been claimed by the so-called Islamic State through its AMAK media agency, which is also used for propaganda.

About author: Redakce ESJ

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